Open Access

Antenatal characteristics of Roma female population in Virovitica-Podravina County, Croatia



This study reports about antenatal characteristics of Roma minority population. The study was designed to investigate data about health behaviours known to be associated with reproductive outcomes of Roma women that have very good living conditions and relatively high resource availability.


A retrospective study included 204 Roma and 408 non-Roma hospitalised singleton births that occurred in the Maternity Ward of the General Hospital Virovitica in the period from 1991 to 2010. Data about women’s age, marital status, smoking, reproductive health (abortions, delivery), antenatal care, perinatal complications and gestational age were taken from hospital records and analysed.


Roma women were averagely more than three years younger than non-Roma women, only 10.8% were married. Smoking was more frequent. The average number of births of Roma and non-Roma women was similar, averagely two children per woman. The rate of induced abortions in the Roma women was higher, while the frequency of spontaneous abortions was equal. Inadequate antenatal care of Roma women was associated with two times higher incidence of perinatal complications. A higher frequency of deliveries at home without professional assistance in Roma pregnancy resulted in lower perinatal outcomes. It was confirmed that Roma mothers give birth earlier (38+6 vs. 39+4 weeks) and have a higher incidence of premature births (9.3% vs. 2.2%).


In the comparison of antenatal parameters between the two researched groups, poorer prenatal outcomes in the Roma population were found, despite full integration and considerable improvement in living standards of this ethnic Roma population.

Publication timeframe:
4 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Medicine, Clinical Medicine, Hygiene and Environmental Medicine